The Path I've Paved

The Path I've Paved

I constantly find myself at odds with where I think I'm supposed to be going and where I want to be going. It's like I have a devil and an angel on each shoulder bickering with each other. Both have valid points, but sooner or later, I find that I have to shake them both off to discover the path that I truly want to take.

 Without fail, they always return.

 When I enrolled in college at Plymouth State University, I was positive that I wanted to be an English teacher. I took every required class, pushed myself harder than I ever had, and made honor roll four years in a row. That alone does not make a teacher. After my student teaching internship in Australia, I quickly learned that being a great teacher means respecting your students, having patience, and allowing yourself to make mistakes. Teachers never stop learning, and I think that's what attracted me to the profession. Being a teacher has always been my dream. I envisioned myself standing at the front of the class, leading interactive lessons, posing critical questions, and finding innovative ways to teach the seemingly mundane.

Yo, Shakespeare. I got this. Let's research Shakespearean insults, divide into two teams, and have a Shakespearean standoff. Piece of cake.

 It's interesting, as an "adult" (whatever that means) to step back and examine the paths that we've paved for ourselves. We are asked at eighteen years old to declare a major. We are asked to know what we want to do with our lives, and we are then asked to pick classes for four years that will sculpt us into a person worthy and qualified for that profession. Do we REALLY know what we want when we're eighteen? No. Of course not. I had just figured out that dating somebody who couldn't be monogamous wasn't healthy when I was eighteen, how was I supposed to know what the heck I wanted to do for the rest of my life?

 My mother practically gasped for air in between her rapid-fire questions when I told her five months ago that I was considering a new career path.

"You're already certified! What if your certification expires? What if you decide after a few months that you want to be teaching? What if you never become a teacher? But you've always wanted to be a teacher! How could that change?"

 After practically offering her an oxygen tank, I explained that I could always go back to teaching, and she eventually calmed down. To be honest, I didn't have a plan. I knew that I wanted to focus on writing and community. I knew that I loved social media, networking, and communicating with people about their passions. I wanted to find creative new ways to relate to people, and to help people relate to each other. Taking all of that into consideration, I began applying for positions that I felt contained those qualities. For the most part, everybody was extremely supportive. Of course some were hesitant, and a few people reminded me that beggars can't be choosers.

 For one thing, I am not a beggar. Let's just put that out there.

 A good friend of mine sent along a job opportunity for a community and content coordinator at a New York City company, and after reading the job description, I knew that this could be the career for me. I applied, scheduled interviews, and adventured to New York. Each time I left, or spoke with people from the company, I couldn't help feeling that this opportunity had been given to me for a reason. I hadn't been this excited about going to work since my teaching internship, and I hadn't even landed the job yet. The office culture and work ethic demonstrated a sense of determination and belonging that I strongly identified with, and wanted to be a part of.

 One great phone interview, two trips to New York City, one cab ride with a crazy taxi driver that almost cost me my life, one hostel stay, and my friend's car breaking down in the middle of the Bronx as the sun was going down later, I received news that a position was being offered to me. They wanted me in three weeks. I pulled the car over, called my boyfriend, and erupted into a wonderful and refreshing mix of tears and laughter.  

Sometimes we focus so much on what we've been told is the correct path for us that we ignore the fact that the only real path is the one we choose for ourselves. I have finally found balance between where I think I'm supposed to be going and where I want to be going. The angel and devil on my shoulders have both disappeared.

I told them to take a hike.

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Carley Barton More Articles By This Author

Carley is a twenty four year old currently living in New Hampshire. After graduating college with a degree in English, and taking a couple of years to travel the globe (ahem, while constantly getting lost using foreign public transportation in large cities) she now resides back in her home town. She is somewhere between trying to have it all figured out, and not even being close, but she writes in hopes that somebody out there thinks the way she does. She has a NikonD3000 that could be considered a third arm, and she may seek surgical help for this eventually. Carley thinks speaking in third person is incredibly awkward, but she's glad you're here anyway. You can find Carley on her personal blog ( or on twitter @carbarton. *fistbump*

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